Friday, December 31, 2010

Dressed Up Oreos

We usually make sugar cookies for Santa, but this year my kids were insistent on Oreos. So I decided to dress them up a little, and believe me, Santa was very happy about the finished cookie. It was so easy, and yet so festive! What kind of cookies do you leave out for Santa?

Dressed Up Oreos

6 oz white chocolate candy coating, chopped
25 Oreos or generic brand cream filled sandwich cookies
Sprinkles

Melt the chocolate candy coating in a microwave for 30 second intervals at a time, stirring each time until smooth and melted. Spread over cookie tops; decorate with sprinkles. Place on plate or waxed paper until set.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

Now, obviously this picture is not mine. I can't believe that I didn't take a picture of this magnificent creation. It was probably the fanciest and most involved dessert recipe I have ever made and I completely forgot my camera. I borrowed this picture from the Taste of Home website. The original recipe called for coffee granules and rum flavoring, but I decided to leave those out. I have to tell you, that this cheesecake was so rich, so indulgent, so heavenly. It was perfect for a show stopping dessert. I brought it to a family Christmas dinner.
The cheesecake part was absolutely delicious! Best cheesecake by far that I have ever made. The mousse part was really good, but I personally could have done without it.
For some reason, I can never get my whipping cream stiff enough to design with. Does anyone else have this problem? I do exactly as the instructions say, but it just doesn't get to that frosting texture. So my whipping cream didn't look as nice as the pictures. I also had a problem with the chocolate curls... but I'm determined to figure that out.
Overall, it was an impressive dessert. If you decide to tackle this baby, it takes about 2 hours of preparation, 30 minutes of cooking, and then extra chilling time. Basically plan to spend all day or night in the kitchen. ;)

Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons baking cocoa

1/3 cup butter, melted


CHEESECAKE LAYER:

12 ounces cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

3 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract


MOUSSE AND TOPPING LAYERS:

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup cold water

4 egg yolks

3/4 cup 2% milk

1/3 cup sugar

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

1-1/2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract, divided

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

GARNISH:

5 ounces dark chocolate candy coating, chopped

5 ounces white candy coating, chopped

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, sugar, cocoa and butter;

press onto the bottom of a greased 9-in. springform pan. Bake at

350° for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.


For cheesecake: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until

smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Add the

sour cream, vanilla; beat just until combined.

Pour over crust. Place pan on a baking sheet.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire

rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to

loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate until completely cooled.


For mousse and topping: In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water;

let stand for 1 minute or until softened.

In a small saucepan, combine the egg yolks, milk, sugar.

Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture reaches 160° or is thick

enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.

Remove from the heat; whisk in gelatin until dissolved. Stir in the

chocolate and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until chocolate is melted.

Pour into a small bowl.

Set the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water; stir occasionally until thickened.


Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken.

Add confectioners' sugar and remaining vanilla; beat until stiff

peaks form. Fold half of cream into mousse mixture; spread over

cheesecake. Top with remaining cream. Cover and refrigerate overnight.


For chocolate curl garnish: In a microwave, melt dark chocolate candy

coating; stir until smooth. Spread a thin layer over baking sheet

and drag a fork through chocolate. Let stand at room temperature until set.


Repeat with white candy coating; carefully spread over dark candy

coating. Let stand at room temperature just until set. Holding a

dough scraper or sturdy metal spatula at a 45° angle, scrape

over the top of the chocolate to form striped curls. Decorate cake with curls.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Brownie Covered Oreos

When I saw this genius idea over at Picky Palate, I knew it was Christmas inspiration at its best!! I was completely smitten. This is such a fantastic idea. Not only are they extremely simple to make, they look absolutely gorgeous on a Christmas platter. I got rave reviews when I served these this past weekend. I'll give you one more nudge to bake them.... the oreo gets soft after it's baked. Absolutely delicious! Jenny used red Christmas oreos and I took it one step farther by using the Mint green cream oreos, and regular white oreos along with the red special edition ones. They look so festive!

1 Brownie mix (or use your own brownie recipe)

1 package Oreos (or several different types of Oreos)

White chocolate, melted for drizzle

Sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare brownie batter according to package directions. Leave in mixing bowl. Dip Oreos in brownie batter then place in bottom of cupcake tins that have been generously sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until brownies are cooked through. As soon as you remove, take a plastic butter knife and run along the edges of the brownie. This will help it not to stick to the pan.

2. Let cool for 5 minutes. Remove and drizzle with melted white chocolate, sprinkle with festive sprinkles and prepare to be dazzled!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies


I was wandering through my local grocery store when I spied these Nestle Limited Edition Mint and Dark Chocolate Chips.

I knew I needed to come home and try them out immediately. I'm so glad I did because they turned out delicious. The mint gives it just the right touch for a Christmas-y feel. They would make a great, quick and easy, edition to any holiday plate of goodies.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 Cup softened butter

1 Cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 Cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 Cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 bag Nestle Limited Edition Mint and Dark Chocolate Chips

3/4 Cups white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Add to wet ingredients. Stir until well combined. Add chips. Mix until just combined. Scoop cookies with a cookie scoop or Tablespoon. Roll into balls and then press a few chips on top for best presentation. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until slightly golden on outside edges. Enjoy!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cheddar Corn Chowder

I found this delicious and comforting chowder in a Taste of Home magazine. I spruced it up a little, and it turned out incredible. I can honestly say this is one of the best soups I have ever eaten. I plan on making it many more times through the winter. It's a perfect feel-good comfort soup for a cold day.

Cheddar Corn Chowder

1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup diced red pepper
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 large potatoes, diced
1 can whole kernel corn, drained or 1 cup frozen corn
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups milk

1. In a large saucepan, saute onion and red pepper in butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended; gradually add broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened.
2. Add the potatoes, corn, mustard, paprika, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
3. Add milk and remaining red pepper; cook and stir until soup comes to a boil. remove from the heat; stir in cheese until melted.